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Portland, Oregon

September 28, 2009

There are very few places better for a beer enthusiast to visit than Portland, Oregon.  Portland has 30 breweries, more than any other city in the world.  I grew up across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington, and still have some family and friends in the area, so luckily I get to visit this Beer Mecca often!

On our most recent trip we made return visits to Deschutes, New Old Lompoc and Amnesia and ventured to The Green Dragon, Hopworks Urban Brewery and Upright Brewing for the first time.

Deschutes, Portland, Or - by Lush C

Deschutes Brewery and Public House
I’ve been a fan of Deschutes Beer for many years. In fact, Black Butte Porter is at the top of my list for favorite bottled beers of all time. Since their home in Bend, Oregon is a 6+ hour drive from Seattle we were excited to discover that they opened a location in Portland’s Pearl District in 2008.

The pub can be described as Cozy industrial. It is housed in a large, open industrial building from another century rounded with rough hemmed wood and a large stone fireplace. The Northwest feel is embraced with elaborately carved wood arches leading to the restaurant seating area. They brew in classic copper kettles 16 Barrel system. All the Deschutes classics are on tap: Mirror Pond Pale, Obsidian Stout, Black Butte Porter… etc, plus seasonal choices. Their menu is an upscale pub fare.

Beer Sampler:
• Hop Trip – A well balanced pale with more hop flavor than expected, must be those fresh hops!
• Alvord – smooth, definitely a session beer with a little extra bite to distinguish it.
• Oktoberfest -malty German style. I could drink more than a few. Sweet, spicy, crisp, with slow developing hop flavor. Hughes of banana.
• Bachelor Bitter on cask – smooth until the finish. Had a slight metallic aftertaste.

New Old Lompoc
We discovered the New Old Lompoc a few years ago when my Grandmother was living in the NW 23rd Avenue Neighborhood of Portland. We ventured in once before, but did not have much of a recollection, so we made the walk from downtown to visit again. It is a Classic Northwest Tavern with basic pub fare. They do have a very nice dog friendly back patio that gives you options for full shade, full sun or hybrid table of sun and shade.

Beer sampler:
• Fool’s Golden Ale – light, crisp, a little sweet
• Condor Pale Ale – Solid crisp middle of the road pale.
• Proletariat Red – A sweet malty Red with a mild hoppy after taste
• Dry Hopped Red (Seasonal)- Smoky yet light, hoppy but not too hoppy
• Centennial IPA – A very floral IPA with a sharp bitter aftertaste
• C-note Imperial Pale – My favorite. This Beer has a lot of hops (7 varieties). It is very floral, very smooth and despite the amount of hops it has a good finish.
• Lompoc Strong Draft (LSD) – A smoky, hoppy, malty beer.
• Sockeye Cream Stout – Smoky, bitter, sharp, thin, and not particularly creamy. Hmm… did I get the right Beer?

Green Dragon
On Friday we decided to make the trek from Downtown Portland to the Green Dragon across the Willamette River in Southeast Portland. We were glad we did. As part of their “Green Philosophy” they have a funky industrial feel with decor that looks like it came from a discount restaurant supply store… but totally works it. They have a large outdoor area that is Dog Friendly. It has a good neo hippy vibe that say “come one, come all”, that reminds me of the bars I frequented in college. For the pinball enthusiasts they have several machines. Unfortunately, they have not released their own Beer yet. I was told it will be released soon. We will be back.

HUB - bu Lush C

Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB)
After visiting my Grandmother, we had about an hour to waste, so my Uncle John took us to the HUB. What a cool place. It is a Biker bar to the extreme. (the pedal kind) And has northwest modern, Bauhaus interpretation. They also have an upstairs with Pinball Machines. It was a shame that we only had time for one beer, and had dinner waiting for us back my Uncle’s house. We will have to return to sample more Beers and their pub fare.

Beer sampler:
• Bike (a fresh hop IPA) – A very floral Beer that finished with a very robust hop aftertaste. Not for the hop squeamish.
• Velvet ESB (English session beer) – A very smooth, well balanced drinkable beer.

Amnesia
This is one of our favorite Breweries in Portland. It is in the recently revitalized Mississippi District housed in a Metal Building with a large covered outdoor area that gives it a perpetual beer garden atmosphere in the best possible way. We try not to miss it when in Portland. They have a very simple, but very appropriate menu: Sausage and Burgers (veggie versions too) grilled on an outdoor BBQ.

Beer Sampler:
• Copacetic IPA – very well balanced fruity and hoppy beer that is not too bitter.
• Desolation IPA – very well balanced, malty sweet, with just enough hops…a very smooth IPA, one of my all time favorites

Upright Brewing
Upright is one of Portland’s newest Breweries. It is in the heart of the Rose Quarter in the basement of a rehabilitated 1920’s building that once housed a bakery, creamery and confectionary. Upright’s niche is open-fermented French and Belgian Farmhouse Ales with a Northwest Style. They are a brewery with a tasting room that is only open on Weekends. Their beers are numbered not named which makes it hard to remember what you are drinking.

Beer Sampler:
• Six – a dark rye beer with hints of camel, chocolate, and a fruit flavor.
• Pinot Barrel Four – Wheat Beer, aged in oak barrels with Oregon Cherry. Light Crisp, and fruity.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. John permalink
    October 3, 2009 6:54 pm

    Hi eric
    Thanks for the great tips on Portland. I’m sitting at mcmenamins roadhouse brewery in Hillsboro enjoying a pint of their fall seasonal. – scarecrow ESB. It’s tasty, well crafted, and beautifully balanced. They say it’s exceptionally drinkable,and I agree. Hope you get some before it’s all gone!

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